Roof Replacement in Winter: Why or Why Not?

Winter brings with it certain demands. One needs to check if their insulation is complete and free of heat escape routes, the roofing needs to be tested if it can carry the additional weight brought by snowfall, and chimneys have to be inspected to make sure they’re clear from blockage. Many homeowners choose to have their places fixed during autumn, when there is a slightly lower probability of rainfall, and work-related injuries are less likely to occur.

Aside from the risk of injury to workers, roof replacement contractors choose to work in the fall due to limitations faced by the materials and equipment. Generally, shingle manufacturers have specific temperature ranges for storage and installation. Asphalt shingles tend to become brittle and prone to breakage below 26 degrees Fahrenheit, which means that workers will have a harder time installing them. Also, asphalt shingles take on an uneven form if stored on a non-level surface, which could play a role in installation breakage.

New shingles also need thermal sealing, which requires outdoor temperatures of 40 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. This can be a challenge when it’s colder, as lower temperature hardens the adhesive used to attach the shingles to the substrate. Heat is also required to soften the adhesive and allow the shingles to bond after installation.

Installing other forms of roofing can also be affected by winter weather conditions. Torch-on membranes for roof decks have to be applied on a dry day with low humidity. Otherwise, it will not stick to the substrate properly and will form bubbles, reducing the level of protection it gives to the surface.
The conditions needed for good roof repair are pretty much impossible in the dead of winter, especially in the Midwest where snow from the Great Lakes Area is prevalent.

Because of these factors, homeowners try to reduce the risk of roof damage by preparing their homes in autumn. However, there are certain instances when this is unavoidable. When a roof breaks under the weight of snow, the shingles have to be replaced right away. Generally, roof replacement contractors do less work during winter than in other seasons; therefore, if the weather permits, one can expect a roofer to fix the issue within a week as opposed to two weeks or more. Many roofing companies also offer substantial discounts, sometimes slashing 25% off the costs, during winter. When repair of roof damage is absolutely required in the middle of winter, roofers often apply plastic roofing cement under each shingle to help create a quick bond.